Board Bios



Reiko Asano, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Reiko Asano is a nurse scientist and former financial markets bond trader who entered nursing via Johns Hopkins’ accelerated nursing program and continued on at Hopkins for her PhD. Dr. Asano’s research focuses on heart failure and palliative care. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and a Joanne and William Conway Endowed Scholar.


Esther Beck, Ulster University

Dr. Esther Ruth Beck is a lecturer in Nursing at Ulster University School of Nursing. Dr. Beck’s research focuses on palliative care.


Emma Blakey, Oxford Brookes University

Emma is a PhD Candidate in Nursing at Oxford Brookes University. Her research focuses on readmissions to hospital within 30 days of discharge in the UK and internationally among people aged 65 years and over.


Colleen Corte, University of Illinois Chicago

Dr. Colleen Corte is Director of the PhD Program at UIC College of Nursing. She is committed to developing innovative models of doctoral nursing education globally, and in developing international collaborations, especially since a large minority of Dr. Corte’s PhD students are from countries outside the United States. In addition to teaching core courses in the PhD program for over a decade, Dr. Corte personally chaired nine PhD student committees (three international students) and served on committees for over 20 additional students. As a Board Member of INDEN, she is keen to collaborate to identify challenges, opportunities, and future directions to ensure high quality doctoral nursing education across the world. Dr. Corte is also a renowned researcher in substance abuse research; she and her colleagues discovered emerging drinker identities in children as young as 9-12 years of age. Dr. Corte has investigated modifiable precursors of the drinker identity in a variety of samples — children, adolescents, young adults, and sexual minority (LGBT) young people. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the Institute of Medicine Chicago. Dr. Corte earned her BSN from Madonna College (MI), and continued her education at the University of Michigan at which she earned her MS and PhD, with a post-doctoral fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry.


Matthew Howard, Sigma Theta Tau International & Northern Kentucky University

Dr. Matthew Howard is currently the Director of Educational Resources at Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma). He is also faculty at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, KY, USA and works as a part-time staff nurse in the emergency department at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, Indiana USA. His nursing career has taken him from stretcher-side nursing to academia and back. His clinical background includes emergency department, flight, and trauma nursing, and several leadership positions. Dr. Howard currently serves on several international, national, and local councils and nursing associations including Sigma, the Emergency Nurses Association, and was an advisory board member to the National Nursing Education Research Network.



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Marilyn Hravnak, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Marilyn Hravnak is a nurse scientist and tenured Professor in the School of Nursing of the University of Pittsburgh. She is also Director of their PhD Program. She maintains an active program of research in acute and critical care funded by the National Institutes of Health. She is also a certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Dr. Hravnak is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.


Kate Kemplin, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga & Rush University

Dr. Kate Kemplin is Nursing Research and Graduate Statistics Faculty for the School of Nursing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Her clinical background is critical care, emergency nursing, and trauma medicine, including advanced training in prehospital resuscitation and critical care transport. Dr. Kemplin’s main area of scholarship is with Special Operations Forces (SOF) military clinicians, including their knowledge acquisition, cognition, and curricular design, extending to collaborative work on practice guidelines and SOF clinical initiatives. Currently, Dr. Kemplin is researching defibrillation impedance and remote critical care monitoring for battlefield use. Dr. Kemplin is a 2012 Jonas Foundation Veterans’ Healthcare Scholar, the Research Program Chair for the Special Operations Medical Association 2014-2018, and an expert faculty evaluator of military medical and clinical curricula. She is pursuing a second doctorate in Research Science at Rush University College of Nursing, with dissertation focus on resilience and suicide in Special Operations service members. Before entering academia, Dr. Kemplin held clinical and specialty positions at several military commands, including overseas, during which she was officially recognized for her achievements in trauma practice and for civilian and public service.

Linda Lewandowski, University of Toledo

Linda Lewandowski is Dean and Professor at the University of Toledo College of Nursing. She is a registered nurse and a clinical psychologist, investigating cumulative trauma and the various factors affecting the experience and response to trauma. Dr. Lewandowski received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a master’s in psychology from UMass Amherst. She has another master’s degree in pediatric critical care nursing from the University of California San Francisco and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Michigan.

Sonja McIlfatrick, Ulster University

Dr. Sonja McIlfatrick is a Professor in Nursing and Palliative Care and the Head of School of Nursing at Ulster University.  She is an experienced clinical academic with over twenty years’ experience in nursing and palliative care practice, education and research. Within her previous role as the Head of Research for the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (2011-2014) she led the establishment of the All Ireland Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN), which included the establishment of priorities for palliative care research across the island of Ireland.  Sonja has published widely in academic and professional journals with over 150 research outputs and publications and has a successful history of grant acquisition, securing over 4 million pounds.  Professor Mcilfatrick is an internationally recognized leader in palliative care research and has been invited to deliver presentations at key national and international events. She is appointed as a Visiting Professor at the University of Maribor, Slovenia, University of Chiba, Japan and University of Technology, Sydney working with the Centre for Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (IMPACCT). She has served on numerous international research-funding boards, such as German Government research funding panel, and is a current member of the Marie Curie UK Funding Research Committee. She is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, is a UK Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholar and is a member of the research advisory committee for the Council of Deans for Health, UK. Sonja also has a keen interest in doctoral education, serving as the current President of the International Network of Doctoral Education in Nursing (INDEN). Her current research interests include, palliative care in chronic illness, management of clinical symptoms; decision making at end of life; and public health approach to palliative care.

Dr. Manka Nkimbeng

Dr. Nkimbeng earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) and her Master’s in Public Health from Boston University. She is the only nurse accepted into the first cohort of the Health Policy Research Scholar program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Ms. Nkimbeng’s research centers around understanding the causes of health inequities in minorities and improving health outcomes for older adults.  Her dissertation explores the impact of acculturation and racial discrimination on the functional health of older African immigrants, an understudied population. As a Health Policy Research Scholar, she is learning how to use her research to influence health policy. Encompassing her research and policy training, her long-term goal is to develop and test  interventions that can be translated into health policies and practice to improve health and eliminate health inequities for older adults.


Marie Nolan, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Marie Nolan is internationally known for her work on patient and family decision making in the face of critical illness. Her pioneering end-of-life research has revealed that instead of the autonomous decision making model prevalent in clinical practice and healthcare policy, most critically ill patients prefer shared decision making with their family and physician. Moreover, these preferences remain stable over time, even as health declines significantly. At the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Dr. Nolan is professor and executive vice dean. She also previously directed the PhD program and is the Johns Hopkins director of the first nursing doctoral program in China, a collaboration between Peking Union Medical College and JHSON funded by the China Medical Board of New York. She is also past-president of the International Network for  Doctoral Education in Nursing (INDEN). Dr. Nolan holds a joint faculty appointment in the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and has served on advisory panels of the National Institutes of Health regarding end-of-life care research. Widely published in the nursing and multidisciplinary research literature, Dr. Nolan has edited two books, Measuring Patient Outcomes (2000) and Transplantation Nursing: Acute and Long-term Management (1995).

Tamar Rodney, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Tamar Rodney is a nurse scientist and faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and a 2016 Jonas Foundation Veterans Healthcare Scholar. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a formidable opponent and Dr. Rodney believes the key to beating PTSD is acting quickly to identify the syndrome and giving the science time to catch up. She is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who has worked in trauma and psychiatry. Her PhD research examined biomarkers for PTSD in veterans with a traumatic brain injury. Dr. Rodney aims to change the way health care professionals approach diagnosis and treatment planning for individuals with mental health needs.


Kumar Benkatasalu, University of Nottingham

Dr. Venkatasalu is a Professor in Cancer and Palliative Care at Institute of Health Sciences (IHS). He completed his doctorate in palliative and end of life care at University of Nottingham, UK. His doctoral thesis on end of life care received a National Award (Justice Akinsanya Scholar) from The Royal College of Nursing, UK for ‘Most Innovative Doctoral Research Studies’ in the UK for year 2011. During 2007-2015, he worked as academic at various UK Higher education settings (University of Nottingham, University of Northumbria and University of Bedfordshire). Clinically, he worked as a Specialist Palliative Care Nurse for several years in the UK (2004-2013) and also worked as a specialist advisor and inspector for acute hospitals on behalf of care quality commission (CQC) UK (2013-2015). He is Registered Nurse Teacher UK (RNT), Registered General Nurse UK (RGN), Registered Mental Health Nurse UK (RMN), a Fellow of Higher Education Academy, UK , Member, Eta Pi chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society of Nursing, USA, and Member, Royal College of Nursing, UK. He is also registered nurse with Brunei Nursing Board. He currently serves on the board of International Network for Doctoral Education in Nursing (INDEN). His focus of publication is cancer, palliative care, older people, death, dying and end of life care education.